Golf tips: Master delicate bunker shots

Improve your execution of short bunker shots with this tip from Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Gary Alliss

Golf Monthly Top 25 Coach Gary Alliss gives his advice on how to improve your execution of short sand shots

Golf tips: Master delicate bunker shots

If you find yourself facing a short bunker shot, the natural adjustment I see many players make is to go down the grip without then making crucial further adjustments. However, this can actually  harm your ability to escape successfully from the sand.

If you go down the grip, then take your address position, your posture will be different to normal as you'll end up bending too far over. This causes the club to work up and down on an overly steep path. It will then dig in at impact and the ball will fail to clear the lip.

It's a common scenario that can easily undermine your confidence. Remember that you need to find a shallow angle of attack when playing from the sand to get the most out of the bounce of your wedge.

Try this: Instead of trying to control the distance of the shot by swinging more softly, go down the grip a little, but crucially, remember to flex your knees more than usual. This will ensure your back is more upright and your swing plane is spot on for the correct shallow angle of attack.

It could just be the tip you have been loking for!


Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X